Kim Kardashian West has denied allegations of cultural appropriation after trademarking a Japanese word for her new shapewear brand, Kimono Intimates.
The reality television star has faced a backlash for trademarking a term which critics on social media have said disrespects traditional Japanese clothing.
In a statement to the New York Times, the 38-year-old said she wanted the name of her shapewear, which is a play on her first name, to “nod to the beauty and detail” that goes into a kimono.
She added: “I understand and have deep respect for the significance of the kimono in Japanese culture.
“My solutionwear brand is built with inclusivity and diversity at its core and I’m incredibly proud of what’s to come.”
Kardashian West, who is studying to become a lawyer, said she had no plans to change the name of her new brand.
She was lambasted on social media following the launch earlier this week, with some people tweeting using the hashtag #KimOhNo.
Many said associating kimonos with underwear constituted cultural appropriation and undermined the Japanese garment, which is the opposite of shapewear.
The word kimono literally means “thing to wear on the shoulders” in Japanese and is usually worn ankle-length with a flat collar for formal occasions including important public holidays and weddings.
YouTuber Yuka Ohishi tweeted: “Naming your product/startup with Japanese words might seem hip and all, but it really sucks for us when our culture is diluted by names of brands that don’t have anything to do with what the word actually represents.”
Another person tweeted: “I find this pretty offensive, the fact that you’re trademarking a kimono as your underwear brand is stupid. People wear these during important Japanese rituals and marriages. #KimOhNo.”
Kardashian West trademarked the Kimono brand last year in the US and has also filed trademarks for “Kimono Body”, “Kimono Intimates” and “Kimono World”.
The celebrity mother-of-four said she had developed the project over the last year and has been passionate about it for 15 years.
“I would always cut up my shapewear to make my own styles, and there have also been so many times I couldn’t find a shapeware colour that blended with my skin tone so we needed a solution for all of this,” she added.